As of March the 21st we can remove our masks! And while some of us may choose to be a little more cautious, we will be seeing more smiles around us very soon! This is very exciting and hopeful for a brighter year ahead.
It is also making us think about the condition of our teeth more – sooner or later we will have to show our smiles to the world not just to our Zoom colleges…
So, the next few blog articles will be dedicated to some problems we might notice when we smile.
Though you may think that your teeth are set in place, they actually move and adjust position throughout your life. This is typically normal and unproblematic. However, in some cases, this movement can be more pronounced, causing crowding (malocclusion) and sometimes tooth discomfort.
There are many reasons that teeth change position, such as from wearing braces, adjusting after having teeth removed, grinding teeth, growth of the jaw, and gum disease. Even wearing a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy device for sleep problems can cause teeth to shift.
While braces and other orthodontic treatments like Invisalign aligners are effective in fixing uneven smiles, it is possible for the teeth to start shifting back to their original positions. For instance, your teeth may start gradually reverting to how they were if you lose your retainer or stop wearing it after your braces have been removed.
Additionally, significant motion can arise due to problems with fixed retainers, which are permanently bonded to teeth. Like other types, these are often installed following braces to preserve tooth alignment. Issues with these retainers, like broken wires and problems with the bonding agents, can result in shifting teeth.
Make sure you’re consistent about going to follow-up appointments during and after orthodontic treatment. This way you’ll be able to catch tooth shifting or other issues. As you undergo treatments, check-ups may be necessary as often as once a month. You should also let your dentist know if you encounter any issues or note damage to your retainers.
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Another common cause of tooth shifting is tooth removal. This may be done to for different reasons:
- Crowding of the teeth
- Dental abscess (infection at the root of the tooth)
- Advanced gum disease
- Tooth impaction (in which a tooth cannot completely come in because it is positioned against another tooth or tissue)
- Damage due to trauma or a fall
Following a dental extraction—or if you lose a tooth and an open space results—the remaining teeth naturally readjust their position, gradually filling in the gaps.
Also known as bruxism, tooth grinding can also cause a range of dental issues. In these cases, people grind their teeth and/or clench or tighten their jaw excessively, which can damage teeth. Some people primarily do it at night, which tends to be more problematic, while others clench or grind due to stress or tension throughout the day.
Along with causing headaches, jaw pain, and clicking and popping in the jaw, bruxism may affect the position and integrity of your teeth. The consistent pressure put on the teeth by this behavior may cause teeth to shift, leading to crooked teeth and other problems.
Gum diseases may also lead to tooth shifting through secondary bone loss. Periodontitis (a complication of gingivitis) starts to affect the underlying bone, which can cause teeth to become loose or fall out. Some with this condition experience significant tooth mobility as a result.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is the use of a special device to treat sleep apnea, a condition that causes breathing disruptions and snoring. Worn overnight, the CPAP apparatus delivers filtered, pressurized air through a tube attached to a full-face mask, a nasal mask, or nasal pillows (earbud-like inserts for the nostrils).
In rare cases, using a CPAP device can cause teeth to move out of alignment, leading to uneven shifting. The air pressure is thought to push the tongue forward, causing shifting and flaring in the front teeth. In addition, retraction, or a slant inward of upper teeth have also been reported because of full-face mask use.
All the conditions mentioned above can be managed if caught at the right time, so talk to us if you have any concerns and we will make sure to bring back your best smile!